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Autodealer’s top 10 drives 2014


HERE at Autodealer we’re privileged enough to be able to drive a number of vehicles throughout the year. When it came to picking the ten best vehicles we’ve driven, it was tough, to say the least. So what we’ve done is taken account of the ten vehicles that we have the fondest recollections of. This is by no means a car-of-the-year-type list but rather the vehicles that surprised, amazed and inspired us, this year.

Audi S1 - Let’s run through the recipe for this little beast. A 2.0-litre motor from the Golf GTI mated with a six-speed manual gearbox with 170kW/370Nm being transferred through a Quattro all-wheel-drive system in a car weighing little over 1 300kg - makes for interesting reading. We were amazed at the level of performance.


BMW M3 - We thought that turbocharging the M3 would diminish its character. Well, it didn’t. The M3 is a monster with 319kW/550Nm on tap and proper dynamics that make it one of the lairiest, most grin-inducing experiences that we had this year.


Citroën C4 Picasso - This has to be one of the most surprising vehicles to come about in 2014. Not only does the Picasso offer a seriously stylish alternative to a family car, it also adds the practicality of an MPV with the features of a luxury car. The economical diesel motor works a treat too.


Mazda 3 - We read all the hype surrounding Mazda’s Golf rival and for once, we’re happy to report that it wasn’t all talk. The Mazda runs the benchmark Golf close in so many categories from its superb ride, to its styling inside and out, to its impressive value credentials and responsive SkyActiv engine range.


Mercedes C-Class - The new C-Class is a very impressive machine indeed. We were amazed at how well it rides and handles. It’s also a very pretty car both inside and out, and that cliché that it’s the “baby S-Class” certainly rang true for us.


Nissan Qashqai - The new Qashqai is a leap - and that’s saying something - because the old model was very accomplished. Here, we found a car that not only looked good but also drove as well as a C-Segment hatch, while providing the space of an SUV; a true Crossover for the masses.


Renault Mégane - We were very impressed with the updated Mégane. Its pretty new face, coupled with super smooth new powertrain options, makes it a very accomplished car. The 2.0-litre turbo version dubbed the GT220 is a proper Golf GTI rival and undercuts the suave German in terms of price.


Subaru WRX - The new WRX is a very good car, not just in terms of performance and handling, but as a practical everyday driving proposition. Its engine is far lighter on fuel than before; it’s quiet, comfortable and is capacious inside, with a large boot. Then there’s the superb handling and all-wheel-drive system that makes it sure-footed.


Toyota Corolla 1.4 D-4D - We like the new Corolla. It’s taken the model from mundane to very likeable. The small-capacity diesel variant that we drove was comfortable, frugal, provided decent overtaking ability and is priced very reasonably. But most of all, it felt more enjoyable to drive than older models; we were very surprised - in a good way.


Volkswagen Golf R - The new R and its S3 brethren are very impressive machines. The Golf provided us with thrills aplenty. Its 206kW/380Nm 2.0-litre engine is a gem and when coupled to that fantastic DSG transmission, you have a car that can deliver the performance, practicality and comfort that you need all year-round.


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